I never know what to get my mom for Christmas. She’s one of those women who generally buys what she needs and for that matter, anything she might possibly want when she needs and/or wants it. She doesn’t have to wait around for a special occasion.
This fall, my parents are building a home. They will be leaving the farm-site where they started their life together nearly forty-three years ago. My childhood home will belong to someone else. (Provided we decide not to move there … more on that for a different time.)
Obviously, this is exciting, but certainly bittersweet.
My mom is the kind of person who is destined to build a home. In the 1980s she was a crafting queen. She become a florist and always had an eye for design. Plus, she knows what she likes. She has very clear opinions about the features and finishing products she wants to use in her home.
Needless to say, she’s super excited about this adventure.
And I’m equally excited to live vicariously through her and be her home building buddy.
When this past Christmas approached, I already knew what I wanted to buy her. I purchased her a ticket to the Eco Chic Boutique Design Conference in Fargo. The previous year, we missed the boat on this local-ish event for us, which featured our very favorite design people of all time, Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper.
I suffer from a slight case of FOMO so I’d be damned if I was going to miss it this year.
We attended this amazing event this past weekend. While my mom got some fun ideas and new leads on vendors she wants to further explore, I found myself being most struck by things that have nothing to do with home decorating.
Here’s what I learned:
Maria Bosak, the owner of Eco Chic and the founder of the event, shared her very personal struggles of not getting her business off to the fastest start. With the four simple words, “Sell the damn hutch”, Maria headed down a course that led her to standing on that stage in front of several thousand people.
Every day, people visiting her shop were telling her what they wanted and she had the courage to listen and change course.
2. Love what you do.
Now, that’s not to say that Maria would have continued down that path had she not fallen in complete and total love with the process of making old things new again.
If she didn’t love it, she wouldn’t have built the business that she has. I could feel her love in every single detail of this event.
From the vendors selling their products to the Grain Design guys on stage, the message was clear: you have to truly love what you’re doing if you want it to be sustainable. That’s right. It takes love, not necessarily specific backgrounds or education. Love, and maybe some blood, sweat and tears.
3. Your dreams are waiting for you.
Finally, my last major takeaway was from Clint Harp, from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. I’m not going to lie, I felt like we’d be getting a second-rate take on Fixer Upper since we missed out on Chip and Joanna last year.
As soon as he confessed he’d had to hold back tears three times within the first five minutes of taking the stage, he had me. I believe that man single-handedly won over the entire audience with his heartfelt message of chasing your dreams.
What I loved the most about Clint’s story was just how ludicrous it is. Most people would have cashed in, gave up and sold out when met with the adversity he faced. Instead, Clint stepped out in faith, with the incredible support of his wife, which bears mentioning, because really, dreams are a team thing when you’re married.
He just knew he wanted to make furniture. He didn’t for whom, he didn’t know where and he didn’t even really know how.
This kind of dogged pursuit is what it takes. Often times, all people see is the fame, the glory and the success, never realizing the arduous journey it takes to arrive there.
This is the truth behind chasing your dreams.
As I sat in the audience with tears in my eyes and my mom’s hand clasping my knee, I felt affirmation again that this crazy road I’ve been on is meant for me.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve questioned if I should give up. Maybe I’m not supposed to do this kind of work. Maybe I’m not cut out for it.
But I still love it. I truly love what I do.
Clint reminded me that this dream is worth my pursuit so I’ll continue to chase it, even when I’m afraid.
Really he gave all of us permission to go out and do that thing we’re longing to do. While there’s no guarantee of success, it’s trying that counts.
Besides the horrible realization that I’ve never once sealed my granite counter-tops and apparently that’s a thing, I left feeling inspired.
Not just for decorating my home. But for living my life.
And yes, I got to touch the Property Brothers. I’d call that a pretty good day.
Even though I never got to ask Clint Harp to build Mom a table for her new house, seeing her happy was worth the price of admission alone.
Thank you, Maria (and team!) from the bottom of my heart. This event was about so much more than making our homes beautiful.
It was about making our lives beautiful.